In Part One of Take People on the Journey with You, I introduced the concept of the many professional (and personal) situations where we find ourselves doing something big that we just can’t do alone.
One example is journey as it relates to creating a breakout story—a story that rises above the noise in your market while aligning sales and marketing to close deals faster. I highlighted three things missing in most stories I hear—mission, point of view, and outcomes—and closed with the following:
What really matters—what will differentiate you—is the story behind the journey you are on. It should include the ‘why’ of what you do (your mission), the expertise that makes you the authority in your market (your Point of View), and how your solution drives outcomes for your customers.
In this post I’ll help you turbo-charge those three elements to craft a compelling story that rises above the noise in your market!
How to Communicate Your Mission
Quick question: What’s your company’s mission statement? And don’t cheat by looking at the laminated wallet card from new-hire orientation.
Think of all the mission statements you’ve read that are highly abstract and way too long (in other words, completely forgettable). The intention may be pure, the words carefully chosen, and the final draft approved (even if only because of fatigue), but the result? A linguistic hodgepodge no one fully associates with—and one that has no impact, on either you or your customers.
Taking people on the journey starts with knowing where you’re going—and why. Your mission statement needs to be short, memorable, and definitive. It’s the heart of your journey, the reason you’re on the path you’ve chosen. It should be a single, simple statement that captures your aspirational destination, one that can be repeated by every person at your company.
Facebook’s mission is a great example:
I can net out Facebook’s mission in three words: “Connect the world.” With 1.09 billion daily active users on average as of March 2016, they’re well on their way to achieving that mission! If Facebook—a global organization with multiple mature and emerging products—can distill their mission to one sentence you can, too!
Another great example: Halogen Software. Halogen pioneered a software category now referred to as Talent Management software. Today, Halogen’s apps are used by over 2,000 organizations around the globe to do everything from streamlining goal setting to aligning compensation with performance.
The Talent Management market has—like all enterprise software categories—become super competitive and noisy. Halogen has a compelling view on where the market is going, and we helped them craft a mission that spearheads their story:
Like Facebook’s mission, Halogen’s can be summed up in three words: “Win with Talent.” Not only do those three words net out what fires up the Halogen team—i.e. working with their customers to leverage investments in their people—but it’s also an awesome conversation starter. Imagine asking a prospect “What does winning with talent look like for your business?”
How to Communicate Your Point of View
How do you describe your market? Where is it going? Why should people care, now and in the future? What expertise makes you an authority in your market? These questions—and more—form the basis of your company’s Point of View.
Your mission is the destination; your Point of View is the compass that points the way.
For your company to stand out, everyone in your company needs to aggressively “tell and sell” the same story consistently, time after time. Your Point of View should enable your team to sum up your story in a 30-second elevator pitch while arming your team with the key details behind the story.
Your Point of View should also grab someone and get them asking for more!
A great example is SpringCM. SpringCM helped create what we today know as cloud content management. Because there’s so much legacy content management software—not to mention massive amounts of content still stored on shared drives and hard drives—cloud content management is another market that has attracted hundreds of players.
What all of those players did (and what many of them still do) is focus on the storing and sharing of files via the cloud. While that can provide a productivity lift, the real magic happens when you can actually put content to work by wrapping business process and workflow around the content. That’s SpringCM’s secret sauce, and we shaped a Point of View that focuses on the importance of doing more than simply storing and sharing content in the cloud.
Today, SpringCM is putting a specific kind of content—sales contracts—to work by automating the contract management process. Contract management is a huge—and risk-prone—part of the sales process. SpringCM helps companies including athenahealth, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and NCR remove that risk while keeping deals moving. Not to mention that Salesforce customers love the incredible power of having SpringCM right within an opportunity or an account.
How to Connect to Customer Outcomes
It’s a common agenda topic at a sales kickoff meeting: A session (or sessions) typically led by a third party to indoctrinate you to a sales methodology selected by your company. You will be assimilated!
On a serious note, sales methodologies are super important to creating a framework and shared language between sales, marketing, and the rest of the organization on advancing sales.
One example—and one that I’ve implemented with success on multiple occasions—is Value Selling. I’m a fan of less paper and more selling, which Value Selling supports. (By the way, the team at Visualize is a global leader in implementing Value Selling. If you’re looking to make lasting changes that drive top line growth, check out the impact they've made on companies including Citrix, Motorola, and Salesforce.)
But what if you’re not using a methodology and you need to get everyone “on the same” page today in terms of deal discussions? Print, write, or tattoo these five things:
1) Increase revenues
2) Lower costs
3) Mitigate risks
4) Keep customers and partners happy
5) Engage employees
Why those five? They are the five things an executive cares about because 99% of the time an executive’s compensation is connected to one or more of those five. When a sales rep tells me they're fired up about an opportunity, I ask probing questions to see if there's a definitive connection to one of the five things noted above.
GSD WITH YOUR STORY TODAY!
You don't need a five-year plan or a SWAT team of consultants to get started. Just select one of the three story elements noted above and start jamming. And here's a tip to help you get started: Start with a customer story. Remember, people follow stories as much as they follow leaders—perhaps even more so. The combination of noisy markets and fast business cycles make story and journey more important than ever. If you’re not taking people on the journey with you, you’re leaving them behind.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you found this helpful. If you'd like to book a one-on-one jam session with me where we can talk more specifically about your story, please e-mail me at email@example.com. I'd also love to stay in touch! If you're not a subscriber, you can easily sign up below. You can also follow me on Twitter or connect with me on LinkedIn.